OneShift Shootout: Macan vs. Macan S

Text by James Wong and David Foo; Photos by David Foo
2 Jan 2022

Since we had both cars, we put our two in-house petrolheads together to decide which car comes out tops, in terms of relevance for use in Singapore.

Porsche recently gave us the keys to the Macan and Macan S.

About S$40,000 separates the two. The base car has the familiar 2.0-litre turbocharged I4, while the Macan S inherits a fortune, in the form of the stellar 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 from the predecessor’s Macan Turbo.

Since we had both cars, we put our two in-house petrolheads together to decide which car comes out tops, in terms of relevance for use in Singapore.

They both look the same!

JW: Well yes, the differences are subtle, and with Porsche’s options you can literally make your Macan look like a Macan S. But I think that’s a good thing, not being in your face.

DF: I think they don’t look so different that you’d feel shortchanged on the base model. The base still looks great if you take the effort to upgrade to a set of 21-inch wheels, so if people are buying the car for appearances, then I think the base makes the grade. 

So do they drive the same?

JW: Definitely not. The Macan S has a far superior power-to-weight ratio and exhaust note. Plus, it feels like a super good deal, because you’re basically getting a Macan Turbo’s engine from the predecessor. 

DF: Haha - yeah I agree with James. They definitely do not drive the same. The Macan S has a purr-like exhaust note that is quite addictive, and the push from 4th gear feels immensely different. 

But there’s so much more tax to pay for the Macan S, as well as fuel. 

JW: That’s true. I think if you have the means, the Macan S is really worth the money, especially for something that wears the Porsche badge. 

DF: I don’t think people who buy Porsches will care about things like road tax. But once again, I think you have to trickle it down to why you’re buying the car. If it's just for the badge and appearances, then really there is no need to pay a premium for the S.

Is the 2.9-litre V6 all that great? 

JW: Yup. Raspy, responsive and just alive, it feels like a proper top shelf V6. Arguably better than the all-out twin-turbo V8 in say the Cayenne, which just feels too fast for Singapore.

DF: I think it is a little hard to get a reference point because there just aren’t as many proper V6 engines around today as there were in the past - but the 2.9 V6 in the Macan S feels like a very happy engine, and power is delivered in a way that feels smooth and surgical, rather than with brute force.

But really, is the 2.0-litre I4 that big of a compromise?

JW: Actually no. For most situations the Macan feels adequately powered, and for the mundane everyday tasks it is really more suitable. However, it doesn’t seem all that efficient and feels more VW than Porsche.

DF: I think not. On occasion, the Macan S can feel a little out of place in Singapore - in the sense where there just wasn’t enough runway to properly push the car. At times, it felt like the car just wanted me to drive faster, and refused to go into top gear and settle down. So for that reason, I think the Macan Base is a much better fit for Singapore and is much better equipped to deal with mid-afternoon, 70km/h traffic. 

So which would you pick? 

JW: The Macan S. You’re buying a Porsche, right?

DF: The Macan Base. Objectively, it does feel like Singaporeans respect the badge more than they understand what’s under the skin. And I think the elevation of status and the feel-good factor is already achieved with the Base. Beyond that, the qualitative gains feel marginal, and only a tiny group of people will really ever understand the difference.


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